A further 3,105 #COVID19 cases in the UK over the past 24 hours. UK trajectory following pretty much bang in line with France & Spain. Should we be panicking already...? Quick thread (and short answer: no)
As in Mar/Apr, UK's epidemic seems to be following closely France & Spain. And what we are learning from there is that cases & deaths are rising but much less rapidly than in Apr/May. Just compare the death trajectories: Spain this time vs last time (the two yellow lines here)
Side note: why am I using deaths to compare this episode with last time around👆? Because last time there was so little testing that the existing case figs don't give a good indication of the prevalence of the disease. So grisly as it is, deaths are a better yardstick
Sidenote 2: since case data from Mar/Apr wasn't v reliable, a better measure is % of positive cases. Compare these charts & u see what I mean. Look at cases alone and it looks like we are facing a bigger epidemic than in March. Look at positivity and we're well down on then.
Now it's possible cases may yet accelerate in Spain and France but we aren't seeing it. Latest numbers out of Madrid this pm: 9437 cases in past 24 hours. Sounds scary, but if you average out cases over the past week they're creeping up, not catapulting higher. That's v important
Last time around the prevalence of the disease (as best as we could determine) was doubling every 3/4 days. This time around it's doubling every 15 or so days. If you're wondering what kind of a difference that makes, it's enormous. Bigger than the gap between these two lines
Last time around, the trajectory of deaths seemed to follow the trajectory of cases. But look at the gap between black line (deaths) and white line (COVID positivity rate) this time around. The link seems to have been broken - though it's too early to be absolutely sure.
None of this is to dispute that hospitalisations and deaths are rising in Spain & France. But so far not as fast as in the spring. Exponentiality is what matters here. We need to keep remembering that. And keeping an eye on the data - as it's not impossible it worsens
Some conclusions:
1. UK cases of #COVID19 will continue to rise. Will prob be 10k within a few wks
2. Hospitalisations will rise
3. Deaths will rise
4. But the increases should, if it's anything like Spain/France, be gradual
5. These are ingredients for caution - but not panic
There are crucial provisos. Spain's cases seem to be coming under control not in the absence of action but following measures imposed by govt. In Spain they have limited gatherings much like the UK via the "rule of 6" (their rule is, I think, 10). They are not "letting it rip"
Second, nothing in the above thread precludes the possibility of things going worse here than they are in France/Spain. If anyone is telling you with confidence they know what's going to happen, they DON'T.
Including me. I'm just keeping an eye on the numbers 🤓
Is it time to panic about the rise in #COVID19? Here’s a video which almost answers that question. It’s 14 minutes and the powers-that-be at @skynews say they’d be amazed if anyone kept watching beyond 3m. So now’s your opportunity to prove the MSM wrong!

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More from @EdConwaySky

21 Sep
You’ll probably see this chart a lot today. It’s the one @uksciencechief just showed at the @10DowningStreet briefing today. It’s v v scary & implies if the current growth rate of #COVID19 continues we'll face 49k cases a day by mid October. So. Is this really plausible...?
Well in strict mathematical terms, yes it is. Exponential growth rates are scary. This is precisely the problem with diseases like #COVID19. In the first wave deaths were for a time doubling every 3/4 days. Here's what that chart might look like if we followed last wave. Scarier!
But here's the big problem with @uksciencechief's scary illustrative chart: it's predicated on two presumptions. 1) that we are indeed seeing the disease double every 7 days. 2) it presumes that growth rate will continue. There are quite important challenges to both assumptions.
Read 10 tweets
18 Sep
THREAD: More than 4,000 new #COVID19 cases in the UK in the past 24 hours. More than 14k in Spain.
These numbers are clearly making a lot of people scared.
But has anything changed since I said it's not yet time to panic?
Quick recap:
I've been making three points:
1. yes cases are rising, but so far nowhere as fast as in spring.
2. UK following v much in Spain & France's footsteps - so we get a sneak preview of where we're heading
3. News from France/Spain backs up point 1: #COVID not taking off like Spring
Has any of that changed? After all, we've had some big new numbers in this week.
And problems with the testing system prompted some to ask whether the case figures this is all based on can be trusted anyway - eg maybe #COVID19 is spreading far faster than the official UK figs.
Read 10 tweets
18 Sep
🧵Since it's Friday, I want to tell you a story that has nothing to do with COVID or lockdowns or any of that. A story of human ingenuity that boggles the mind. It begins with this, @apple's latest product launch this week apple.com/apple-events/s…
Now, on the face of it this keynote was a less exciting than usual. No new iPhones or Macs. Just an upgraded watch and new mid-range iPad. But anyway for me the most interesting bit of these presentations is the bit about the chips. You know: the bit where we go into the lab...
And this time around the news from the lab is genuinely exciting. The A14 chip going into the new iPad (and the new iPhone once they announce that) is built out of transistors measuring five nanometres. This is truly amazing.
Read 19 tweets
16 Sep
Britain is doing more #COVID19 testing than any other country in Europe. Really! So how on earth are we now in a situation where the testing system is on its knees just at the very moment we most need it?
Here's my longish read about what went wrong: news.sky.com/story/coronavi…
I've spoken to lots of people involved in testing and three critical decisions stand out:
1. Scarred by the events of spring @DHSCgovuk vowed to ensure care homes got enough tests this time. Prudent decision but upshot is 100k of the 250k daily usable capacity has been eaten up.
2. Govt committed to getting pupils back to school but underestimated the surge of demand for testing from students. Some schools have firm rules that every fever => test. About half of the recent rise in test requests is from schools. Tests for kids aged 5-15 quadrupled.
Read 8 tweets
7 Sep
2,948 new cases of #COVID19 in the latest 24 hours. So the UK now has more than 20 cases per 100k people, the threshold at which we tend to impose quarantines on other countries.
Time to panic? Not quite. A few reasons why:
First & most important, that last chart (and the bare numbers) look far scarier because we are testing much, much more than before. A better measure of prevalence is % of tests coming back positive. It’s creeping up but is still way, way below where it was earlier in the summer
Second, something else seems to have changed since earlier this year. Cases are rising but deaths are not rising as fast, at least in European countries which had previous outbreaks. Look at the relationship between the black and red lines in France, the Netherlands. Spain etc.
Read 8 tweets
12 Aug
It’s official.
Not only is the UK now formally in recession.
It’s the deepest recession in UK history.
The deepest of any G7 economy.
The deepest since the invention of Gross Domestic Product.
GDP shrank by 20.4% in Q2, acc to @ONS. Follows a 2.2% fall in Q1
Here it is in chart form.
The UK's 20.4% contraction in GDP (that bar on the far right hand side) compared with every other quarterly GDP growth number back to 1920.
We've never seen anything like this.
One bit of good news: this recession will prob be the shortest in 45 years.
Most recent recessions lasted longer than two quarters but in this case GDP is expected to bounce back with v strong growth in Q3 (eg NOW).
That would make it the first two-quarter recession since 1975
Read 6 tweets

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